Does Iran have an S-400 anti-aircraft weapon system?
PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – On May 16 this year, a publication in the National Interest again considered the topic of the capabilities of the Russian S-400 air defense system and its operators around the world. According to Kris Osborne, author of the article and a former Pentagon employee, Iran operates Russia’s S-400 air defense system.
“Iran and China are among the group of nations known to operate Russian-built S-400 air defenses, a scenario which has, of course, inspired attention and concern from the US, particularly given a chance that they might be upgraded,” Osborne said in his comment.
Although the UN lifted the arms embargo on Iran late last year and de facto untied Tehran’s hands to buy Russian and Chinese weapons, there is no official information so far that the Iranians will “operate or acquire” the S-400.
Speculative claims about the acquisition of this system from Iran are not yet. This fact forced the authorities in Tehran to refute such allegations at the end of 2020, even confirming our suspicions that Iran did not even place an order for such a purchase.
“Mehdi Sanaei, a top advisor to Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, says Iran has not placed an order to purchase S-400 missile systems from Russia,” the Tehran Times wrote in its article.
What does Moscow say?
Russia has also repeatedly confirmed the possibility of Iran buying its S-400 air defense systems. Still, both Tehran and Moscow say that “if Iran wants, Russia will sit at the negotiating table.” I.e., Russia confirms the fact that Moscow has not sold the S-400 to Iran.
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In a report published on May 30, 2019, Bloomberg claimed Russia had rejected Iran’s request to buy S-400 missile defense systems, “concerned that the sale would stoke more tension” in West Asia.
Iran uses S-400 protection in Syria
It is no secret that the Russians guard their air bases in Syria thanks to the S-300 and S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems. We have repeatedly reported attempts at missile and drone attacks on the Khmeimim Russian base in Syria, but all have been unsuccessful and failed.
However, Iran supplies weapons to its groups and brigades on Syrian territory. Mainly Tehran’s efforts are directed against the state of Israel. A few days ago, we announced a similar delivery, which was confirmed by the launch of three missiles from Syria to Israel.
Russia provides Tehran with a protective dome for such arms supplies by activating S-300 and S-400 anti-aircraft systems over the skies at airbases where Iranian transport planes land. Tehran often uses Russian military airports to make such deliveries.
One of the reasons Israel has not launched airstrikes on Iranian transport planes in the skies over Syria is precisely the protection of the Russians, which they carry out with their air defense systems.
Who are the S-400 operators at the moment?
Russia, China, Turkey, and India are the countries that operate this system and have bought it (India purchased and paid for the S-400, but it is currently in production and will soon be delivered – ed.).
In recent years, many countries have shown interest in the system, especially after a NATO member, Turkey, made the purchase and received the air defense system from Moscow.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Qatar, and Belarus are among the countries that have made inquiries or talk about buying the S-400, but no deals have been made.
Paradoxically, the United States has also expressed a desire to buy the Russian S-400 air defense system. The idea was for the Americans to return the Turks to the F-35 program if they sold them the Russian air defense system. In principle, this will not happen, as Turkey will violate dozens of international agreements and rules in the arms trade. Turkey, in addition to the United States, will lose Russia as a partner. Turkey’s more significant problem is the loss of Moscow as a partner, as the two countries have major energy projects in Asia, the Balkans, and Europe.
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